Sunday, March 05, 2006

Brazil Souvenir Sheets

Brazil's souvenir sheets can form an interesting group to collect. By the cutoff date of Scott's 2006 catalog, Brazil had issued 134 different designs of souvenir sheet, of which Scott gives catalog numbers to 129; the other five are mentioned after Scott # 1874 but not given catalog numbers. There are also a number of varieties, some given a footnote in Scott, others not; I'll ignore those. The 134 sheets contain 245 different stamp designs, most of which were not issued in any form except in the souvenir sheets; those which were issued in another form can all be distinguished from stamps taken from the souvenir sheets, mint or used, by paper, watermark (or lack thereof), or perforations (or lack thereof). The first of Brazil's souvenir sheets was issued in 1938, Scott # 465, and they have come along at irregular intervals ever since.

All 134 of these souvenir sheets can be acquired mint without much difficulty, although some are a bit pricey; a complete set of 134 bought at retail as one group from a Brazilian dealer would cost roughly US$1200.00 to $1500.00. However, if one keeps one's eyes open, most of the pricier ones can be found occasionally on the Web for considerably less, so a complete set can probably be acquired over time for $600.00 or thereabouts. Finding most of them canceled is also not too hard, although a few are considerably scarcer canceled than mint. However, locating many of them postally used can be a real challenge, even though many of them received considerable postal usage by philatelists and on controlled mail. For example, I recently examined 39 postally used copies of the common and heavily used souvenir sheet Scott # 908, and of the 39 only one was VF without faults, two others were F-VF without faults, four more I judged to be in good enough grade and condition to be acceptable to most collectors, but 32 were damaged in one way or another. The explanation is simple; souvenir sheets are large enough so that the process of affixng them to envelopes or packets and the handling they receive in the postal system tends to damage perfs, crease or stain or scuff the sheet, introduce substantial wrinkles, and/or result in truly horrendous cancels.

Because the stamps in the souvenir sheets can all be distinguished from stamps issued in other forms, one can also seek examples of the stamps postally used but detached from the sheet. Some of these are extremely common, such as the stamp from Scott # C86A. Others are almost impossible to find, even if the sheet is easy to find postally used; for example, I have seen only one cover with the stamps from Scott # C53 cut from the sheet and used for postage. Even some of the easy-to-find postally used stamps from souvenir sheets can be very hard to find and very pricey used alone to pay the proper rate during the normal interval of use. For example, Scott # 498, from the souvenir sheet #498a, is quite common postally used, cataloging only $2.50 VF without defects; however, that stamp on cover properly used to pay the then-current 4th tier international airmail rate is extremely scarce, and without defects in either stamp or cover such a cover would sell at retail in Brazil for US$300.00 to $400.00.

If one just wants to acquire the souvenir sheets postally used off cover, most can be found by sufficient searching. The key ones that are really difficult to find postally used are Scott # 497a, which sells for a good deal more than the italicized Scott catalog price of $110.00 when a postally used sheet VF without defects shows up in the market, and Scott # 1181, which is seriously underpriced by Scott both mint and used; a favor canceled copy of #1181 retails for roughly US$80.00 compared to a Scott italicized price of $24.00, and a postally used copy of #1181, on or off cover, VF without defects would go for somewhat more than $80.00. The five 1983 souvenir sheets not given numbers by Scott, and the stamps from them, are also very hard to locate postally used, although they do exist.

A long-term project that could produce a really nice show exhibit would be to find, mount and describe the complete group (or nearly the complete group) of Brazil's souvenir sheets postally used on cover. I'm certain that such covers of all 134 sheets existed within a year or two of issue, but a few may no longer exist in that form. Whether all the sheets, and all the stamps from them, exist (or ever existed) postally used alone on cover to prepay the correct rate at the time of issue, I don't know, but I suspect that Scott 465 and 466 do not; they did get postally used by one pioneer Brazilian philatelist, but considerably overpaying the needed postage.

For reasons that aren't clear to me, a few of these souvenir sheets that are fairly common are sometimes offered on the Web as "rarities"; e.g. Scott # 1145, currently cataloged by Scott at $4.50 VF MNH and $3.50 used. It's a nice topical, and well worth having in any event, but I see no need to pay more than Scott catalog value for it mint or used. I doubt that the overenthusiasm of some sellers is due to any dishonest intent; they seem to be collectors or dealers who didn't know where this sheet is readily available. But it's wise to be a bit skeptical about descriptions of Brazil philatelic items as "rare" unless one has reason to believe that the item is in fact rare.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Brazil postal forgeries

As with many other countries, the early stamps of Brazil have been extensiely forged (or covers and usages faked). For the "Numeral" issues of 1843 to 1861 (not including the extensively faked "Rio perfs" of 1866, I'm aware of 24 different philatelic forgeries of the 1843 Bulls Eyes, 16 different philatelic forgeries of the 1844-1866
"Inclinados", 14 different philatelic forgeries of the 1850 "Upright numerals" issue,
and 10 different philatelic forgeries of the 1854-1861 "coloridos", not counting
faked covers, altered (or chemically removed) cancels, etc. Fortunately, very few of
these are deceptive. There are also quite a few philatelic forgeries of later issues,
again mostly easy to detect, although a few are quite deceptive.

But what interests me far more are postal forgeries, "stamps" privately printed in the hope of using them to cheat Brazil's postal service out of revenue. There are not
a great many different postal forgeries of Brazil stamps known, and most of the known ones are rare Indeed, they usually bring far higher prices than the genuine stamps they were intended to imitate.

The first wave of these postal forgeries showed up from about 1897 to 1904. These included two diferent forgeries of each of Scott 116, 119, 120 and 161. All of these are very hard to come by, and are usually found postally used, not mint. Although rather well executed, they can be distinguished by eye without much difficulty, and they seem not to have caused very much trouble for the postal service (the "Correio"). I don't happen to know anyone who has a complete set of all 8 of these;
acquiring such a set could be a real challenge.

The next serious batch of postal forgeries was produced during the 1930-1933 interval: forgeries of the 300 reis olive gray and 500 reis red brown of Scott Type A76, of the overprint on Scott 297, and of the 200 reis Scott 334. The first three of these don't seem to have bothered the Correio unduly; presumably they got little
circulation. The postal forgery of Scott 334 was another matter. I suspect (without evidence) that it was produced in Argentina by the same group that forged the then-current 5 centavos Argentine definitive at about the same time, and the Brazilian forgery seems to have gotten widespread distribution, causing considerable confusion as postal clerks tried to decide whether 200 reis definitives were genuine, making mistakes of both sorts. The Correio responded by overprinting leftover 300 reis red definitives in place of the 200 reis red definitives, which it withdrew from post offices; these overprints are Scott 376, 377 and their varieties. Then as fast as possible, a 200 reis stamp with a completely different design (Scott Type A116) was issued, and, to close out the problem, all 200 reis red stamps of Scott Type A75 were demonetized effective Dec. 11, 1934. This 200 reis forgery of 1932 or 1933 is not too hard to find unused, but used copies on or off cover, seem to be extremely scarce.

Since then Brazil's postal system has had less trouble with postal forgeries, although there have been several. The most noteworthy ones I happen to know about are postal forgeries of Scott 2065, 2068 and 2139, all produced by a single forger in 1988. The first two of these got significant use, but the authorities nailed the forger just about the time he was putting the forgery of 2139 into circulation, so the majority of the forgeries were confiscated directly from the forger, unused, and the authorities confiscated the forger's printing press for good measure.

It can be great fun looking for examples of Brazil postal forgeries, unused, used or on cover (and for that matter looking for covers franked with Scott 334 that were
mistakenly rejected because they were though by postal clerks to bear forgeries).
However, this is an effort that requires great patience, because the postal forgeries are all scarce now, and seldom show up on the market for sale. If one is really lucky, one may spot a postal forgery lurking in a dealer stock that the dealer hasn't recognized as a forgery; it pays to learn the distinguishing differences that are
easy to see, and take a quick look at every copy of a Brazil stamp that's been subjected to postal forgery. But don't expect that to yield easy results; in 40 years of looking I've found only two copies of postal forgeries that way.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Brazil: cheap postally used to look for

In several of my previous notes I've remarked on high-priced stamps that are hard to find. But many low priced stamps of Brazil are hard to find "Very Fine" or better, without defects, *postally used*. These tend to be absent from most collectors' colections of Brazil; finding them can take persistence, but persistence is rewarded by nice stamps that cost little. So I'll mention some in this note: some supposedly very common stamps (cataloging less than $1.00 in Scott's 2006 edition), and one cataloging somewhat more. (Scott 2006 catalog values for stamps specifically mentioned are in parens after the Scott catalog number). Scott's prices are, of course, for stamps of grade VF; some of the stamps mentioned below are easy to find in lower grades or with defects, but the fun of the chase is to find really nice VF postaly used copies without defects, that dress up one's collection.

A few definitives to start with. Scott 284 (70 cents) is quite hard to find a really nice copy of; such a copy ordered at retail from Brazil might cost up to $10.00. Copies of Scott 286 (35 cents) that are off center, faded or poorly printed are common, but really nice crisply printed well-centered copies are scarce. The great majority of the definitives of the 1941-1953 "Netinha" designs were poorly perforated, so in addition to the ones given a higher price by Scott, it's worth being alert for well-centered, cleanly perforated, postally used copies of Scott 512 (20 cents), which was little used, Scott 552 (45 cents), 570 (55 cents), 579 (30 cents) and 656 (which was little used). Moving on, Scott 786 (20 cents) is a sleeper; exceedingly comon mint, its denomination was low enough so it got little use and most used copies were discarded; if you find a really nice postally used copy, hang onto it. Scott 992A (40 cents) was only current for a short time and got little use; the $100 catalog value for a mint copy reflects this, but nice postally used copies are quite scarce. It's surprisingly hard to find a VF copy of Scott 1259 (20 cents) postally used without defects; most of them got battered in the mails. Scott 1672 (50 cents) and Scott 1679 (20 cents) are the key values of that long set of definitives; both are really scarce postaly used. And Scott 1989 (20 cents) is another sleeper; it got used quite a bit, but almost always on "throwaway" mail or on packages, so postally used copies are much scarcer than mint copies.

Turning to commemoratives, centering of Scott 290-92 (set catalogs $1.50) and 312-314 (set catalogs 2.30) was almost uniformly terrible. So search for VF postally used copies of these; it will be a long search, but worth while. And the hardest to find of all Brazil's early commems VF without defects postally used is Scott 197 ($7.50). Brazil's mint had terrible problems perforating those, and although sharp-eyed collectors picked out some well-centered cleanly perforated copies from post office counter stocks, correspondingly nice postally used copies are truly scarce; I've only run across one in years of looking.

As a final general remark on this subject, very many of Brazil's commemoratives issued from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s are hard to find VF or better postally used. The paper on which these were printed was resistant to both perforation and separation; as a result, most postally used copies, looked at carefully, have damaged perfs, short perfs, pulled perfs, ragged perfs, scissors-cut perfs, or what have you. My rule of thumb is that for most of the commems of that interval of 15+ years, I have to examine anywhere from 5 to 20 postally used copies to find one in a grade I can be proud of. For exactly this reason, if one orders used copies of these from dealers, one is apt to receive favor-canceled copies, bought by dealers from the main philatelic bureau and carefully separated by the dealer after they were received in canceled sheets.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Brazil: definitive color changes in 1915

From 1906 through 1917 Brazil used definitives produced in the US by the American Bank Note Co. Scott catalog lists two color changes in these definitves in 1915, but in fact there were seven. Scott lists the change of the 200 reis from blue to ultramarine (catalog numbers 178 and 179) nd the change of the 2000 reis from yelow green to prussian blue (186 and 187). Scott also lists the 1000 reis of Type A64 (193 and 194) changing from deep green to slate, but incorrectly shows the date of that change as 1916. In fact, all of those changes, and four others, occured in 1915.

The other four, all quite distinctive, were the 20 reis, from violet to bright violet, the 50 reis, from dark green to green, the 500 reis, from slate violet to violet, and the 600 reis from olive to greenish olive. All seven of these stamps are common in both shades, and they make an interesting group.

The color changes occured because of the beginning of World War I. ABNCo had been using German ink for those denominations, but as German industry converted to war production, the German inks ABNCo had been using became unavailable, so ABNCo switched to inks made in the US. How much interaction there was with Brazil's postal authorities in deciding what color shades to change to I have no idea. However, the resulting new color shades reached Brazil in 1915 and were promptly placed into use.

Of course, as World War I progressed the US experienced increasing effects, and finally in 1917 entered the war. The increasing impact of this on ABNCo was presumably what led Brazil to produce its further new issues, except for Scott 198, in Rio at Casa da Moeda, in place of ordering from ABNCo. One can note similar changes toward domestic production of stamps in several other Latin American countries, and in some cases, such as Argentina, this was done only with considerable difficulty. Brazil had relatively few problems, the worst one being the difficulty of producing Scott 197, which I'll discuss in another note.

Brazil high-denomination officials of 1913

In the early years of the 20th Century several countries issued postage stamps of very high denominations; Rhodesia, British East Africa, and Brazil come to mind. What such countries shared was a lack of secure transportation methods other than the postal system for shipment of valuables.

It is not unusual to see covers mailed in those times by banks in Brazil plastered with large numbers of the 10,000 reis stamps that were the top denomination definitives of the time; these were most often registered international mail transmitting high-value material from Brazil to Great Britain. But in addition, in 1913 Brazil issued a set of official stamps with denominations up to 1,000,000 reis. At that time, 1,000,000 reis had roughly the purchasing power of US $200.00 then: the equivalent in today's purchasing power of perhaps US $4000.00. That's a lot of money for a postage stamp. So why were these extremely high denomination stamps issued?

The government itself used the postal system for mailing such things as currency and packages of revenue stamps from one city to another. And, until the use of official stamps was abolished at the beginning of 1920, such packages were franked with official stamps. Furthermore, when currency or other fungible valuables were mailed, postal regulations required the contents to be insured, at a postal fee of 2% of the value of the contents. So a 1,000,000 reis official stamp would pay the Correio's insurance fee for a package of 50,000,000 reis in currency, an extremely large amount, to be sure, but the sort of package that occasionally had to be sent by the treasury from Rio to, say, Sao Paulo or Recife. That was the only purpose of those very high denomination officials. 25,000 of each of the top 3 denominations (Scott # O27 to O29) were printed by the American Bank Note Company and introduced into use in Brazil in 1913, but by 1920, when the use of official stamps ceased, only slightly more than 5000 out of the 25,000 of each of these denominations had been distributed to or used by government agencies, and not returned to the central vaults when not needed. The other nearly 20,000 of each of these denominations were all surcharged as airmail stamps in 1927.

Not surprisingly, these high-denomination officials are scarce both unused and used.
Used copies are scarcer than unused copies, and a complete used set of this issue is hard to locate or assemble. But they're not as expensive as one might expect from their scarcity; like many back-of-the-book stamps from many countries, including the US, they get less collector interest than do regular postage stamps. A complete set really dresses up a collection of Brazil, and is well worth acquiring, if one can.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Brazil stamp booklets

Brazil has issued stamp booklets only sporadically, and Scott catalog listings do not identify them all in a clear and consistent way. The most interesting ones to me are the earlier ones, the 22 different booklets issued from 1908 through 1990, so I'll comment mostly on those in this note. Only the first three of these first 22 booklets have panes that can be identified when separated from the booklet; the other 19 were made up by hand from sheet margin blocks of ordinary stamps, and can be distinguished only as entire booklets. Booklet panes of the first three, issued in 1908, are listed by Scott as Brazil numbers 176a, 177b and 178a. Both the booklet panes and the intact booklets are scarce and seldom come on the market, because only 25,000 of each of these three booklets was produced. However, a complete set of these three booklets was sold on eBay on Dec. 26, 2005; not surprisingly, the three wound up being sold for a healthy price of slightly more than US$600.00

The 4th and 5th booklets were issued in 1928; one of them is noted in the most recent editions of Scott catalog in a footnote after Brazil number 257, made up of one pane each from Scott Brazil numbers 241, 243, 247, 249 and 251; the other is very similar, but includes a pane of 278 instead of 247. These booklets are very scarce in any condition, and copies that have survived without getting battered or acquiring tropical staining are rare. I can only speculate about what the market price of these would be, but I doubt that even a copy with significant tropical staining would cost much less than US$1000.00. (Quantity issued is unknown.)

No further booklets were issued until 1971-1972; during these two years 15 different booklets were issued, made up variously from the definitives with Scott numbers 1039, 1063, 1064, 1065, 1216 and 1251. These were not a success with the public, but although they are quite scarce, they are readily available at retail from dealers in Brazil for what I consider to be rather fancy prices -- roughly US$80.00 apiece to $400.00 apiece, depending on which booklet it is. (Quatities issued unknown.)

In 1989 and 1990 Brazil's postal service tried again, with two slightly different booklets made up from Scott # 2218. (Quantities issued unknown.) These also flopped with the public, but can be bought at retail from dealers in Brazil for maybe US$400.00 apiece.

After these various attempts, Brazil's postal authorities finally, in the 1990s, found subjects and formats for booklets that the public liked, and an increasing number of increasingly popular boolets have been issued. Two changes accounted for the increasing popularity of booklets. First, starting in 1991, was the introduction of booklets with more interesting stamps; the first of these was made up with 6 se-tenant pairs of the "Rock in Rio" commemoratives Scott # 2298-99. Second, starting in 1997, was the introduction of self-adhesive definitives in minisheets designed specifically to be folded into booklet form; these include Scott 2655-59, 2698-2702 and 2826 (all noted in Scott as being issued in booklet form), as well as Scott 2772 (not specifically noted by Scott as being a booklet). All the booklets issued from 1991 on are readily available and not expensive. However, although Scott prices the booklet 2772 at the same catalog value used as mint, finding the intact booklet postally used, although possible, is a major challenge.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Brazil's "Madrugada" definitives of 1894 to 1906

The "Madrugadas" are the stamps listed by Scott with catalog numbers 112-124, 140-150A, 159-161 and 166-171d. They have been intensively studied by philatelists since about 1911, and a great deal is known about them. But much is still unknown, because all the records of Brazil's Mint (Casa da Moeda), which produced these stamps, were destroyed in an accidental fire in 1910. Very many known varieties exist that are not listed or noted by Scott; this note will mention just a few things to look for in forming a collection of these stamps.

To begin with, the 50 reis Scott 115 was originaly printed from two plates, one for the vignette and one for the frame. In 1897 this was replaced by a single plate, so the color specified by Scott for 115, "dk bl & bl" is incorrect for all printed after 1897; those (inculding many copies of 115 and all copies of 142 and 147A) are just blue, and are easily distinguishable. Scott has a footnote saying that the 100 reis, #116, exists in 5 types, but there are 6. As plates and dies for this most heavily used stamp of the issue wore, a sequence of changes was made. First, worn vignettes were reinserted with a retouched die; this is the type not mentioned by Scott. Next, worn vignettes were replaced with vignettes intended for the 200, 500 and 700 reis stamps; these are scarce and sell for considerably more than the other varieties. Finally, a new die was prepared. and was used to replace worn vignettes and make new plates. Further, on some copies of the 100 reis made from both the original and the new vignette die, the tops of the digits "00" are pointed, rather than rounded. Perhaps the scarcest of all the 100 reis Madrugada varieties is a pair in which one stamp is printed from the original vignette die and the other from the 1897 new die.

Other striking plate varieties exist on several of the denominations, and there are an unknown but very large number of minor plate varieties; extensive collections and exhibits of these have been formed from time to time.

In 1900, to comply with a UPU resolution, the colors of three denomiantions were changed: the 50 reis to green, the 100 reis to red, and the 200 reis to blue. The initial printings of all these were made from existing plates, two plates for each denomination. later that year, single plates were made for each denomination, readily distinguished from the earlier printings. Scott 160a and one of the 3 types of Scott 161 are from the first printings in these new colors; the first printing of the 50 reis green is not mentioned by Scott. Later that same year, many of the denominations began to be printed from plates with more space between individual subjects than had been the case until then; this is a very complex subject, but the "wider spacing" mentioned in Scott's Specialized 1840-1940 can be distinguished from the earlier plates by the horizontal spacing between subjects: if less than 1.25 mm, it's "narrow" spacing, and if more than 1.25 mm, it's the "wider" spacing. Scott 160a always occurs with narrow spacing, as do Scott 112, 116, 118, 120, 121, 124 and 140-150A. Scott 160 and 166-171d always occur with wide spacing. Scott 113, 114, 119, 122, 159 and 161 occur with both "narrow" and "wider" spacing.

Briefly in 1899 the printers experimented with the coarse perfs listed by Scott as numbers 140-150A. Be careful about acquiring these, especially stamps alleged to be perforated a compound of 5 1/2 to 7 by 11 to 11 1/2, or a compound of 8 1/2 to 9 1/2 by 11 to 11 1/2. Except on Scott 147 and 149, I have never seen a genuine copy of these compound perfs, and I don't expect to, althugh some may exist. As for the stamps perf 5 1/2 to 7 and the stamps perf 8 1/2 to 9 1/2, I have a number of singles that look to me as if they were faked from jumbo copies of stamps with ordinary perfs. I consider that all of 140-150A are most safely collected in pairs or larger multiples.

The perforations and papers of the Madrugadas form a huge subject for specialized study, and there is a quite large literature on these, but one that's still incomplete. It's possible to form a several-volume collection of the Madrugadas
if one is persistent and patient enough, and to include in it varieties not noted in any catalog, including undocumented imperforates and part perfs.

Be aware that the "surcharges" which one occasionally sees on Madrugadas are all fraudulent, produced by fakers at the same time genuine surcharges were applied to the newspaper stamps and the 1890 definitives. Also, be extremely suspicious of bisects on cover or piece; these were never authorized, and although it's possible that a few are genuine, most are fakes.

Literature and other information about the Madrugadas is extensive, but widely scattered and hard to come by. The two most essential documents on this issue are:
(a) "Brasil: Estudo Sobre as Emissoes de 1894 a 1906" by Helmuth Ponge, J.L.E. Baade and Horst Flateau, published in Sao Paulo in 1963; and (b) "Estudo dos Papeis e das Emissoes do Padrao de 1.894-1.906" by Dr. Jose de Oliveira Pinho, publishes (where?) in 1983. Both are quite hard to locate. If you wish to start a study of this issue and cannot find the relevant literature, email me at mandvav@msn.com and I'll be glad to send you photocopies of these and quite a bit of other material on the Madrugadas for my cost to copy and mail the material.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Brazil money order stamps

From Jan 1, 1913 to Dec. 31 1941, Brazil used special "money order stamps", {"depositos" in Brazilian Portuguese)on postal money order forms in denominations matching the amount of money being sent. These stamps were available in 14 denominations, the lowest being 100 reis and the highest being 1,000,000 reis.
They are rectangular, in horizontal format, about twice the area of definitive postage stamps, and all of them say "Brazil Correio Deposito" (first design) or "Brasil Correio Deposito" (second design) with, of course, the denomination; the two designs are immediately distinguishable not only by the different spelling of the country name, but also by the word "Correio" being curved on stamps of the first design and straight on stamps of the second design. In adition to the money order stamps, each money order (except certain official money orders) bore postage stamps in the amount of the postal fee for the money order. The postage stamps were canceled normally, but the money order stamps were canceled in manuscript by the sending postal clerk. Various other printed, manuscript and handstamped inscriptions are on the front and back of these money orders. Money order stamps are often mistaken for revenues, but they are not; they are postal, used as an accounting control for the rather large amounts of money transmitted by postal money orders. These stamps, on and off money orders, can be a fascinating subject of study and collecting.

Unused copies were not ordinarily sold to the public, and genuine unused copies are quite rare; if you encounter what seems to be an unused copy, it is most likely a stamp that was used and later had the pen cancel chemically removed.

The stamps of the first design were produced by the American Bank Note Company, and there was only one printing. All the denominations of this first issue are common except the 500,000 and 1,000,000 reis, and all are inexpensive. As stocks of the various denominations of this set ran low, Brazil's Mint (Casa da Moeda) produced corresponding stamps of the second design. Because the ABNCo order had specified quantities that turned out in practice to last much longer for the hghest and lowest denominations than for the ones in between, stamps of the second design were put into use at various different dates: 1920 for the 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 and 100,000 reis, 1924 for the 200,000 and 500,000 reis, 1930 for the 500 reis, 1935 for the 1,000,000 reis, 1936 for the 100 and 200 reis. There are more than 80 watermark, perfotation and paper varieties of the money order stamps of the second design, interesting to specialists.

Of the 28 face-different designs, only the 100 reis of the second design is rare and pricey; it wasn't issued until 1936, when the volume of money orders was already declining and 100 reis was a very small amount of money (roughly equivalent in purchasing power to US 2 cents at that time), so it got little use, and of course was not sold to collectors unused. One is unlikeely to find a VF copy for less than US$100.00, and I won't guess how much a copy still on money order would be worth.

These money order stamps can form a fascinating specialized collection, whether as detached stmaps or on the original money orders. Especially on money orders, one finds every imaginable shortcut of the "official" regulations for how money orders were to be prepared and accounted for, and several different forms of use. Generally speaking, individual money orders with both the money orders and the postage stamps attached can be bought for US$2.00 to $5.00 apiece, but especially interesting ones may sell for many times that. Some sellers have an inflated idea of the value of money orders; ignore those. But it's worth looking in particular for money orders from small towns, money orders where the postal fees were paid with commemoratives or with obsolete postage stamps, money orders sent "by telegram" like Western Union money orders, and other interesting and unusual uses.